Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Campaign 2016: Bleating and tweeting on the right

You may have noticed that there's been a lot of nasty  pushing snd shoving by Republican candidates who want not only to make America great but also to satisfy the  hitherto ignored hearts and souls of civilized human beings.

That should be clearly evident in the bloody crossfire of people like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz who have settled on the word "liar"  to defend one from the other.  John Kasich has sought shelter in pretending to be a moderate right up to the split-second that he came down ferociously conservative on abortion, Planned Parenthood, Obamacare, the auto industry  bailout,  the  stimulus  and public unions. but unlike Cruz, he never resorted to calling Trump a "sniveling coward".(Cruz also was widely quoted as saying"Trump may be a rat, but I have no desire to copulate with him."  I dare not go further  with this because I have no idea what the hell he's talking about.")

Name-calling isn't  anything new to politics.  It just gets wider currency in the  era of  bleating tweeting social media and antisocial patriots who want everyone else to atone for the LGBT's  who are threatening our religious  liberties.

No one has experienced  the mobocracy's assault more than President Obama , who was even shouted  a  liar  by a South Carolina representative  as Obama spoke to a seated Congress. The prez has been on  the receiving end of  Socialist, Communist, traitor, Kenyan, monkey and Watermelon Boy from the grandstanders

But in an historical context  of badly seeded narrative, Spiro Agnew's words will live in notoriety for his remark that the American media were nothing more than "nattering nabobs of negativism" - a term fed to him by wordsmith William Safire that was less effective for its lack of reach to  the minds all those who  couldn't fathom its meaning. .

And of course, we lived with "Tricky Dick" Nixon  for ages.  Still,  my  choice for graphic malcontent must go to Tom Dewey as he was asked how he could have possibly lost to Harry Truman.   Without pause, the Republican asserted: "The son of a bitch won."

As for Kasich, the Secret Service's code name for him is "Unit 1"  because as he once confided,  "My wife said , "You'll never be Unit 1.  You're  Unit 2."

It's still March and we can only hope that his code won't improve before the calamity on the horizon at the Cleveland convention..  And that's no lie.

(Reposted from Plunderbund) 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

UA: The Polytechnic (?) Empire misfires back

In the midst of further evidence of the University of Akron's woes,  the Akron Beacon Journal not only again called this week for a change in leadership but also dumped the school's critics (like me)  into a class that it described as  "unfair, misinformed and small-minded at times".

Right.  I can only presume it refers to this writer and the thousand or so folks who signed a "Scarborough must go" ad in the aforementioned newspaper.   In assessing the misbehavior of  those of us who have long sensed a meltdown at the downtown campus, the editorial deans should be reminded of their headline  that once asserted Team Scarborough "has a good plan...It really does."

The "really"  part  suggested a plea for approval  from any doubters who remain in our midst.

Having  unfairly sprung that from my system, may I continue?

In the simplest terms for this week's installments of the UA Epic of Biblical Proportions,  here's the narrative.  It really is.

(1) A few days ago veteran reporter Marilyn Miller wrote  a firm  facts-and-figures  front page story telling us of a continuing decline in the school's enrollment. Headline: Enrollment slide is largest in MAC....

(2) Next day, on Thursday, the UA front office emailed the paper, shredding Miller's story as"inaccurate, misleading  and apparently relied on out-of-date information".

(3) On Friday, UA gave the paper later information.

(4) Miller then followed Saturday with  another front-pager that was headlined:
 "UA takes exception to article on future freshmen".

The school came up with new numbers in a vain attempt at triage:

The paper reported the new level was  actually worse than first reported! New student enrollment was at the lowest number  in five years.  Are you as confused as I am? Did tail bite tail?

Never mind, UA said.  It issued  good news through its own filters that called Team Scarborough's "pretty extensive efforts"  on track with recruiting initiatives ranging from social media activities  and letter-writing to one- on- one phone calls to student prospects by Scarborough himself.

Well, to be fair about it, he didn't create the existing problem when he whizzed onto the campus two years ago.  His mismanaged agenda merely made them worse, as he  moved quickly  with ideas that drained millions from the ailing budget for inner circle salaries,  new programs of "student success coaches"   provided by a start-up company with little experience, a new student Cadet Corps amid a couple of hundred layoffs,  and God knows what else is in the fine print. Oh, a nearly $1 million renovation of  the president's
 home that accommodated a suite for his wife's parents. (No, I won't revive the memory of the damned olive jar!)  For a president who often shares his reliance on his  Christian values,  this all sounded a lot like the Prosperity Gospel, right?

When confronted with these not so small matters, Scarborough has said his critics simply don't understand what he is trying to accomplish...That would include the 50-2 no confidence resolution by the Faculty Senate and the local paper's rising impatience from an earlier berth on the Good Ship Lollipop.

And  if he doesn't respond to his many critics, it's because he doesn't understand their idea of vibrant leadership two chaotic years into his calling.

 Time to go, President Scarborough - as the bumper stickers advise  - and  don't take the school with you.

As you yourself once said to a local religious group:

"What  matters most is what we learn from our  failures and how those lessons make us better. I believe  moments of failure are when we are most receptive to actually hearing what God has been trying to say."

And while you're listening, sir, invite your enablers  at the Board of  Trustees to listen with you.

Well?  So much for today's...um... unfair misinformed sermon.

Friday, March 25, 2016

The computer nightmare is over - I hope

Well, I'm back.  No thanks to Apple or Google. Neither was useful after hours and hours on the phone in  trying to solve my blog block on Google.

That was remedied by Son Rick's friend Tim, who  arrived as I was seconds away from a nervous breakdown , pushed some buttons and Bingo!, it worked in less than 3 minutes.

It was a learning experience.  Never answer the phone, nor follow up on advisories from distant voices, in solving these problems.  Never. Never. Never!!!!!  Why was I too dense to know that?  The cloud cleared when some outlier with a hard-to- understand voice told me the computer was infected with something called "Bubblehead"  or something  that had intruded upon my way of life . Huh?

The bigger question for me  by now was how would I fill the empty hours that were usually infused with blogging for 8 years.  How could I make amends with the darkened screen that had mirrored my thoughts above all others, including the useless stuff.   How could I ever again determine how many times Dino Restelli had struck out on a 2-2 count with  a runner in scoring position and his team behind by  15 runs in the bottom of the ninth.   Or how many times John Kasich has told us that his father was a mailman.?

You grow listless.  You spend more time on the New York Times Sunday crossword with your mind out of sorts. .  You are a prisoner.  Your ideas for possible columns with no place to put them   are overlaid  on 12 across or 10 down.     You recall a Smith-Corona typewriter that you bought at a PX when you were in the Air Force.  It always did what you wanted it to do and could be carried on a plane. You could even make instant copies with carbon paper. even if your fingertips turned ink blue.

  Whatever happened to the good ol'  days?  When I wanted so send an article to the Washington Post or one of several magazines that I had occasion to write for, I merely  folded t he paper,  fit it into a big envelope and MAILED it.

Enough of this gibberish. As I began this report I told you it was a learning experience. I can only hope it lasts. And that Tim continues to be available.


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Stevens: GOP needs more than white voters to win

In his column in the Daily Beast, former Romney campaign manager Stuart Stevens laid out the Republican Party's decline in the clearest math that anyone -  maybe even Sarah Palin or Joe the Plumber - can understand.

The column heading said  it all:

 "There Aren't Enough White Voters for GOP Win".

Stevens' logic isn't hard to follow once he does the math. "Over the last six presidential elections,"  he writes, "Democrats  have won  16 states every time for a  total of 242 electoral votes out of the 279 needed to win.  In those same six elections,
Republican presidential candidates  carried 13 states for 103 electoral votes. Here's another way to look at it.  The last time a Republican presidential candidate won with enough votes to be declared the winner on election night was in 1988 [George H.W. Bush]"

The clincher?  Stevens argues that although it's erroneously believed that a smaller percentage of white voters supported Romney than Ronald Reagan. the opposite was true.   Romney lost  because the white voter pool  had shrunk.

 And will continue to shrink!

He  concludes that it's a myth to believe a great mass of white voters are lying back to vote when  the right Republican candidate eventually arrives.

"Call  it the Lost Tribes of the Amazon Theory: If only you paddle far enough up the river, and bang the  drum loud enough, these previously hidden voters will gather to the river's edge, " he writes.  "The simple  truth is that there simply aren't enough white voters in the America of 2016 to win a national  election without getting a substantial share of the non-white votes."

Republicans,  he says, need between 25 pct. and 35 pct.  of the non-white vote to win.

 But the party still has its sacred but less potent base, of sorts.

Anybody for demographics?

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Friday, March 18, 2016

Don't count on grown-ups in the wings

Political campaigns  are never without a fresh supply of jargon, from Yellow Dogs, boll weevils  and angry white guys, to gravitas, NASCAR dads and a soccer mom from somewhere up north. We need an artificial way to extract one pol from another to keep everybody casually informed of who's who.  

Now, we're being introduced to the phenomenon of "grown- ups". It's a common word that has taken on new meaning  in the helter-skelter of the 2016 campaign.   As the Plain Dealer chipped in with its endorsement of John  Kasich:  "Alone among Republicans Kasich acts like a grown-up". I only agree with the acting part.

 It's  his good fortune to be in a room of maniacs.  As it's been said, in the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king.   More about that in a future column.

But  with a shattered Republican party, it may be the only household word that will serve as an ad hoc standard in the planet's  frantic  search for an Ohio Miracle, which is what Kasich has long promised for years.

Good luck on that. You can't count on clarity from, say,  MSNBC's Chris Matthews, a dam-bursting  Kasich  fan who speedily expresses himself without punctuation marks.  The Ohio governor, after all,   outlasted  Marco Rubio , once considered a grown-up, who quit with a self-awarded consolation prize that  he finished fourth in a field of seventeen.

The TV news class - so-called strategists, bellowers and assortment of insiders -   has come at us with Donald Trump's Castro-like segments of his  babbling but  has now settled on Kasich as the "grown-up"   in an anybody-but-Trump  movement.  You'd think that after  ignoring Trump's earlier  rise for so long they would now  have a plausible  solution in the GOP's afterlife.  But as the sign says in the antique shop:  You break it, you own it.

You will  be hearing a lot of talk from the muses of  fill-in grown-ups   all of the way to the convention. Even Kasich will try to confirm that he's the miracle-working deity.   Some of us, however, would do well to watch the cartoons instead.

Good grief.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

A day that once had walls

This being St. Patrick's Day, it's a good time to remind ourselves it's also a day when some noisemakers want to build walls.

The Irish of more than a century ago encountered the same walls in America, a traditional enterprise over the years that would exclude blacks, Jews,  Catholics, Italians, Muslims, Germans, Japanese, Asians and Middle Easterners, depending on the prevailing prejudicial winds.  Which one is in your family tree?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The GOP Bottom feeders are in full voice

Since the earliest moments when Barack Obama  - he of the darker skin - entered the Oval Office, the bottom feeders of the Republican Party have denied that he was elected by The People.  Nearly  two terms later, they're still at it with Sen.  Mitch McConnell providing the hapless  face of his political class.

Never has that been more evident than their hollowed-out  opposition to a replacement in the President's  final year in office.  The orchestrated  off-key reaction to Obama's  nomination of Merrick Garland to  the U.S. Supreme Court  the morning after Tuesday's round of primaries revived the notion that Obama somehow mythically botched the U.S Constitution by stealing into the office when the voters weren't looking.

With McConnell leading the choir, his senators chanted that the next court appointment should come from The People,. a majority of whom have already spoken  in favor of appointment this year. In his own humorless way, the Senate leader continues to be staring at the shadowy walls of Plato's cave.

Crouching forward as the Republican National Committee Chairman, Reince Priebus mumbled that Obama was doing a "disservice" to the voters by trying to upstage the next president.  Priebus, who seldom makes sense in his responses to easy questions,  accused Obama of attempting to "tip  the balance of the court with a liberal justice in the eleventh hour of his presidency" .

And Ohio Sen . Rob Portman, who insists he's a "commonsense " conservative,  opposed an appointment his year - a year in which his own job will be severely tested by former Ohio Democratic Gov.  Ted Strickland.  "I believe the best thing for the country is to trust the American people and allow them to weigh in on the issue".  "Weighing in",   of course, is something Portman, whose greatest strength is  piloting the Koch brothers ship in Ohio,  is rarely inclined  to do.

Folks, these bottom feeders are not only intellectually corrupt but rather just plain politically stupid.  And they wonder how Donald Trump has gotten this far!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A tale of two campuses

While a top University of Akron officer was explaining  how the school was desperately trying to reverse its enrollment losses with initiatives short of a national military draft, rival Kent State University boasted  of continued growth.

KSU's latest numbers in the Beacon Journal reported a record high of  3,045 new enrollees for the spring semester, numbers that have grown for seven consecutive years.  Total population for the school's  seven regional campuses in 2015 was 41,005. The school  attributed some  of the good news to an increase in international students.

Meantime, Crain's Cleveland Business carried a less  positive picture  by Lawrence Burns, UA vice president of advancement,  that set out several channels for the school's efforts to recruit students - including having some of them urge their off-campus friends so set foot in a Zippy classroom.  The whole tone of the Burns article seemed to say,  "We're doing the best we can, folks".

Crain's article noted UA's enrollment  was down 600 from March a year ago.

One factor in the decline, Burns said, could be negative media reports from faculty, contributors, alums   and others  while  the campus turmoil  has grown since the arrival on campus of President Scott Scarborough in June 2014.

What Team Scarborough has yet to acknowledge is that  you can't  fix UA's image problems with feel-good public relations, trustee silence, nor students asking their friends to join as if it were a fraternity or sorority.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

A Grumpy list for Sesame street fans

After several days of riotous  politicking before Tuesday's critical (it says here) polling and primaries,  here's the diary for those who wisely were glued to  Sesame Street instead:

Donald Trump blamed Bernie Sanders for attracting ISIS rowdies  and called John Kasich a "baby".  Marco Rubio blamed President Obama for the Bay of Pigs and Cleveland Browns.   Ted Cruz blamed Hillary for not acting like a God-fearing woman. Kasich,   reaching for the heavens more often these days, blamed Hillary for "gall".  Sanders and Clinton blamed Trump for everything else.

And then it got worse.

Kasich claimed he balanced the budgets in Latvia and Uganda.  He upgraded his father's job from  mailman to postmaster general for  the entire European Community.   He told George Stephanopoulos that he would support Trump if the blowhard were the Republican nominee but would  not  "wallow in the mud" with him.  To emphasize his point, he rejected an invitation to inspect polluted Lake Erie beaches.
(It was another pet example of Kasich's 3D responses to questions that make him uncomfortable - deflecting, dithering and departing.)

Closer to home,  Secretary of State Jon Husted announced new voting rules to eliminate fraud at the polls:  Only voters with blue eyes would be given ballots. Before adjourning for Labor Day vacations in January, the hoofbeating legislature enacted a law that would provide Statehouse hitching posts for their horses.

The University of Akron Board of Trustees, meeting at Camp David to avoid protesters, called for a recount of the Faculty Senate's 50-2 no confidence resolution against President Scott Scarborough.  Finally, students who were spotted booing  Scarborough at UA  basketball games were warned that all future  sports events would be privatized.

You're welcome!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Kasich: Quid pro quo, are you kidding me?

Aside to Marco Rubio:  Sorry that you didn't earn  a quid pro quo when you asked Gov. Kasich to return your  favor of urging Ohioans  to vote for Kasich to stop Donald Trump.   In his demonic bid to fill in an inside straight at the poker table,  the Ohioan  rejected a plea from Rubio's forces to do the same in the Florida senator's  home state.

Kasich's response:  "If I've got supporters somewhere the country, and I'm on the ballot, they kind of ought  to vote for me.  I mean, what kind of deal would it be if  I told my people, don't vote for me?" .

Marco, the governor has been boastfully telling people to pay attention to how we do things in Ohio. I "kind of ought "  to believe that you understood whatever it was the blue collar candidate  was trying to say.  

Next: anti-Scarborough bumper stickers !

You soon will be  seeing these bumper stickers distributed by the group seeking the ouster of  University of Akron President Scott Scarborough. Activist Jane Bond, former UA trustee and Common Pleas Judge, says 1,000 stickers will be s distributed along with wrist bands calling  for his departure  from the deeply troubled campus.  You can wonder how Team Scarborough can hold out in such a hostile atmosphere peopled by the faculty, whose senate cast a 50-2 no confidence resolution, students and townspeople.  .

Got that, trustees?   Long after this mess is cleaned up,  historians will write about UA's decline and mention the names of the enabling trustees who have not only risked the school's future but their own reputations for letting it happen.

Friday, March 11, 2016

The Obama file, with humor

Best line of the week:

When President Obama welcomed young  Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the White House, he slipped in a quip about Sen. Ted Cruz, asking:

"Where else could a boy born in Calgary grow up to run for president of the United States?"

Ohio papers lay out welcome mat for Kasich

It's been a terrible year for mainstream establishment newspapers. They  have faced endorsement options of death by   hanging or  by firing squad (Trump, Cruz) or by a happy wanderer (Kasich)  who  is the son of a mailman who has been trying to part the waters with his vision of the Pearly Gates.

So with  Tuesday's Ohio primaries approaching,  the Beacon Journal and Plain
Dealer (as well as a majority of the other Buckeye papers) urged Republican voters to support Gov. Kasich  with hospitable home state praise while ignoring many of his  warts.

I know.  They will argue that they had little choice, which, in this instance ignored the option of endorsing nobody.  The PD editorial writers  described their man as "an experienced leader who understands the art of compromise"  and a "compassionate conservative".

 Not really. Particularly for things  that matter the most to women,  gays, Planned Parenthood, schools, urban  budgets and climate change. Etc.

The BJ was a tad testier.

Although  conceding that  the  governor's hyper-self serving vision of his state "departs in many ways from  reality,"  it credits him with being "more the problem solver"   and concludes that he would be the "best candidate now in the mix to emerge  in July at the national party convention".

Aside from his squishy attitude toward climate change, moving back and forth on the topic, there's also his absurd views on public education.  He has said that since Ohio's charter schools, which are among the worst in the nation,  have worked so well, we might consider "charter  universities".

Please.  The University of Akron already has more problems than it is willing to admit.

Now I ask: Should "no endorsement" be an option rather than trying to create something from nothing?

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Happy-go-lucky Dr. Pangloss on Tuesday's ballot

In all of my many years of shadowing politicians, I haven't witnessed a candidate who has yet to win a primary but breaks out in a manic victory lap after finishing third in the latest.

That describes Gov. Kasich's  latest toast to himself for his bronze medal performance in Michigan behind Donald Trump and Ted  Cruz.  It was, he gleamed, a new day for his candidacy as he found more reason to congratulate himself for his persistence in hanging around in a shrinking field of terrible rivals.

Voltaire created a character named Dr. Pangloss who found a happy ending in everything, literally jumping off each of Candide's pages with exuberant optimism. Kasich has simplified  his merry political style by telling us that a victory in his home state of Ohio next Tuesday - sort of like the thrill of kissing your sibling - will lead him to the Oval Office.   Pause while I catch my breath.

* * *

Does the National Republican Senatorial Committee have kids working for it today?   I mean, how in the unholy world of loony attack politics could the NRSC tweet that Rep Tammy Duckworth, a double amputee whose legs were blown off as a helicopter pilot in Iraq,  was "not standing up for veterans"?

When the NRSC later conceded that it was an unfortunate   choice of words, it removed the tweet.  In a twitter world, too late.

* *  *
Speaking of awful words,    Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn warned that no matter who President Obama would nominate to the Supreme Court (he didn't know)  the nominee would be treated as  a "piñata".  Are references to piñata  the new Republican norm for the selection of Supremes?   Or are they simply trying to impress Hispanics that Republicans  know a few Hispanic words?

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Who is the GOP's establishment?.

There are growing reports that the Republican "ex-tablishment", more broadly known as the lumbering Big E Establishment, has finally gotten the memo that Donald Trump is an existential threat to the GOP.  It is reacting by belatedly taking an interest in the party's fate  and  is putting  $10 million into a "Stop Trump"   movement in key primary states. The panicky rationale is that if Trump  can be denied  enough delegates to put him over the top,  Sir Galahad might emerge from the Cleveland convention in July. Or Mitt Romney, who is not a threat to any established order. .

I'm never sure who the establishment is.   The word normally  sends brain waves  of  anonymous business and hedge-fund geniuses sitting around their Chivas Regal, comfortably elitist on   leathery sofas at the club and burying themselves in the Wall Street Street Journal.

As such,  they isolate themselves from people who shop at Walmart  and pump their own gas.Thank God they don't have to.

But then Gov. Kasich insists that he's not a member of the establishment - clearly a campaign ploy to enhance his current posture that he's not an angry white guy and  loves everybody because the Bible tells him so.

But that becomes a problem for someone like him who has courted such non-Walmart shoppers as casino king Sheldon Adelson (Upon meeting him in Vegas, , Kasich called upon God to bless the billionaire  for doing so much good)  and the super-rich Koch Brothers, who had been friendly to Wisconsin Gov. Scott  Walker before he dropped out of the presidential race early in the preliminaries.

So can you not be part of the establishment even if you are asking the big financiers to  chip in a couple of million for  your campaign?

I don't pretend to know how this will all end.    A clear Trump delegate victory with no further references to penis size?    A brokered convention  with the police overwhelmed by protesters in the streets?  A convention chant of "We want Willkie"?  The awarding of the remaining vacancy seat on the stage to Joe the Plumber?   Sarah Palin giving the nominating speech for Trump?

Will Kasich deny that he said he would support Trump in full view of a national TV audience?

As you can see,  it will take more than $10 million to restore order to the ex-tablishment's old Republican party.


The British magazine running scared

Think our allies aren't getting nervous?

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Schlafly: time to take ball and glove from amigos

Phyllis Schlafly, a rigbt-wing writer who has been tormenting Democracy  for more than a half-century, has offered a plan that goes well beyond Donald Trump's promised wall to keep out illegal aliens.  With the ragged arguments so common from  her class, she wants to force all Major League baseball teams to use only  American-born players.

Holy Roberto Clemente!  She said what?

Yep, ALL foreign players, illegal or not.

"The best baseball players today," she argues,  "are American -born." And they are taking jobs away from  American athletes. .

So much for Albert Pujols,(Dominican),  a three-time National League MVP, or such superstars as Rod Carew(Panamanian), Tony Oliva (Cuban) and Juan Marichal (a 243 game-winning pitcher  from the Dominican Republic)

Not good enough to dissuade Schlafly from being a fool  in print.   As she says: "Some of these players cannot speak  English and they did not rise through the  ranks of Little League."

She should have been kinder to herself  by expressing herself in ancient Urdu dialect explaining the infield fly rule.

P.S.About the wall we've been hearing so much about from some Republican  candidates.  Might not it be worth a try to replace the scheme with a thousand border collies?

Hooray. Kasich back to inner self

The good news is that change. is possible in politics. But the bad news is that Gov. Kasich    returned to his nasty inner Kasich from Happyville in  an attack on Hillary Clinton for saying Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder should resign or be recalled for his squishy t role in the Flint water scandal.  Kasich huffed that her  words were the " definition of gall".

Which reminds me: the  Ohio governor and tour  guide these past several months has now qualified for the coveted  Grumpy Abe Linguistic Lunacy (GALL) award for defending the character of his fellow Republican governor who dithered  while countless  constituents drank sickening water,   as did many in Sebring , Ohio

Monday, March 7, 2016

UA by Munch

The state of the University

Saturday, March 5, 2016

An attempt at triage at UA

Well, the next chapter in the Perils of Polytechnic  unfolded this week with the University of Akron's decision to turn to a medical doctor in its house to remedy  the school's communications disaster (among others!).

He's David Gordon, who will continue as dean of the College of Health Professions,while being  on call to put Team  Scarborough and the faculty on speaking terms, sort of.   Although Gordon was described to me as  a likable, outgoing guy, UA's  problems have festered  much too long for triage. All previous attempts at damage control to the school's image have failed.  Besides, the granite wall called the Board of Trustees has shown no inclination in the deathly silence to abandon President Scott Scarborough in his tenure of discontent. After all, it's the same board that anointed  him.

More than once, I've had to wonder how  these adults in the board room brought him to the campus in the first place.  The trustees' connecting tissue to  him remains a secret after they enriched him with a sweetheart contract in mid-2014 that included a new suite of rooms for his in-laws in the president's mansion and guaranteed free education for a daughter  at any campus in Ohio when she reaches that point.

The deal was even more numbing as he brought in  cronies from his  provost's job at  Toledo University, then contracted for $840,000 an inexperienced startup outfit called Trust Navigator to "coach" students  and engage in discussions with a distance learning  company up to its mahogany desktops in legal trouble.

The Faculty Senate's response was a 50-2 vote of no confidence against Scarborough.

What is so troubling  for anyone who cares:  Why does a guy like Scarborough, so blessedly treated by the board,  need a small group of business community advisors and now a  volunteer liaison to show him how to do his half-million dollar job?

Scarborough arrived with a pat plan to rebrand the university.  The board can advance that idea by beginning at the top rather than rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

How true!

From the New Yorker.

Much to link Trump and Kasich

Here they come!  The riderless cavalry puffing across the political landscape to rescue the besieged Republican Establishment from the deathly grip of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

But even, as it now appears,  they mainly want to stop a vulgar Donald  Trump, have they given too little thought to the other  three?  Have you heard Cruz and and Rubio?  Oh, and John Kasich, the alleged moderate who has been presenting himself, as have another pol or two, as the only adult in the room?

And what would the electorate gain from him?  On most critical issues, there's not a dime's worth of difference between the Blue Collar Ohioan - and the worldly billionaire, to wit:

 Obamacare, Iran nuclear deal , delays on Scalia successor, women, boots on the ground and bombers in the air against ISIS and  narcissistic self-approval  for having answers to every problem in the Universe .  (When Kasich doesn't want to answer a thorny question, he simply walks away from the media;  Trump has critics ushered from the hall).

Back in his  own state there's more about Kasich.  Do moderates attack Planned Parenthood, public unions,  cutbacks on funds to cities and schools to balance a budget that the Constitution requires him to do anyway?

Let me tell you about the state of public education on Kasich's watch.  It will sound like a boast but I must mention it to illustrate his standing with public  school teachers.  When I wrote a recent column on the Washington Post giving education an F grade in Ohio it drew more than 6,000 reader recommendations on Plunderbund.  I was as startled as anybody, but it was explained to me that it reflected "how much the teachers hate Kasich in this state".

Oh, police and firefighter's  have produced a video recalling how Kasich called a cop an "idiot" after a traffic stop.

In anther instance of bravado, he brusquely warned that anybody who tried to challenge his policies  would be run over by the bus.  That was before central-casting experts reinvented him  in the  presidential campaign  as a Sesame Street good guy with a soft smile and a Bible with the Lord at his back.

If he shows any claim beyond his own to winning the GOP nomination, it's certain you'll be hearing more about these things from his rivals.  Moderate, hell!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Oops. State orders UA to repay $4.1 million to students

What are we to think of the disclosure that the state has ordered the University of
Akron to refund to students $4.1 million in  unwarranted fees?

 Was it human error.?  Was it a case of haste making waste in addressing a $60 million deficit?  Or, based  on the track record of the Scarborough regime,  was it another instance of rank mismanagement that has dogged the University since the leadership changed hands  in June 2014?

The foul-up grew out of UA's increase from $18.55 per credit hour to $28.50 as facilities fees in its effort to trim the deficit.   However, state officials ruled that facilities fees qualified as general fees,  and thus violated  a state tuition freeze.

Jeff Robinson , a spokesman  for the Ohio Department of Education, was quoted on Ohio.com  (where you will find more details) , as saying  that he knew of no other public university "facing the same issue this year".

We hope that will find a spot in Scott Scarborough's resume if the  Board  of Trustees finally decides not be silently embarrassed much longer.

Christie's ugly farewell

Did you happen tot see Chris Christie's sullen expression as he stepped aside for Donald Trump's triumphant paean to himself as the Super Tuesday winner?  It was the face of a fallen star.  Having endorsed Trump, he was finished.

The conservative New Hampshire Union Leader had already withdrawn  its endorsement of the New Jersey governor,  saying it had grievously erred.  Six Gannett newspapers in his home state called for him to resign or otherwise be recalled.

Christie made everything worse in his introduction of Trump by saying the guy was uniting the nation, honest! Given the excess of political oratory, Christie still topped the field  of make-believers.  For a contentious, sassy  guy known for taking no prisoners, he had impressed the media,which is always scavenging for rising stars,  as a solid straight-talking politician with plenty of popular appeal.

Last night, however, he had the look of an abject  politician whose entire stock had crashed.

Good riddance.


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

A second by second report to polls closing.  What won't they think of next?